Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

South Indian pictorial tradition has an effect on people's everyday lives

31.03.2009
Using a South Indian pictorial tradition as an example, the researcher Anna Laine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, examines different approaches to images and their capacity to influence people's lives and cultural conceptions.

The images, kolams, have an effect on people's states of mind and they mark the passage of life and the rhythm of the year.

The production of the images also accommodates individual experimentation, particularly on ceremonial occasions when the images are enlarged and more complex, says Anna Laine, who will be publicly defending her thesis in social anthropology at the University of Gothenburg

Every day before sunrise and sunset women in the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu draw geometric pictures, kolams, on the streets in front of the entrances to their homes. They thereby invite in deities in order to bring their family happiness and prosperity. The kolam makes the image of the home complete, both as a material object and as an inner cultural conception.

- Kolams are central to how people relate to and interact with each other and their environment. Drawing kolams is something that most girls learn at a young age. When they marry it becomes a part of their daily domestic chores. Through the continual recreation they are constructed as feminine beings, according to Anna Laine.

The creation of social relations

The thesis analyses kolam partly as a creative process partly as a material object. The aim is to contribute to extending anthropological approaches to and understanding of images, aesthetics and artistic practice. Images as co-participants in the creation of social relations is a central aspect in the thesis.

The images do not simply articulate or mirror cultural conditions, but also contribute to the way in which people relate to the world.

In line with other contemporary anthropologists who focus on visual aspects of culture (and conceptions within Hindu philosophy) the thesis emphasizes the close connection that exists between seeing and our other senses. Aesthetics are discussed as a multisensorial experience rooted in people's everyday lives. Different perceptions of kolam reveal that its aesthetic varies locally and also over time.

Processes of iconographic change take place through interplay between individuals and cultural norms. Despite certain formal aspects, the room for personal experimentation means that the execution of kolams can be defined as artistic representation.

One year's field work

The material for the thesis was collected during one year's field work in Tamilnadu, followed by shorter annual visits. The study has been conducted in both urban and rural areas and among people of different caste and class affiliations. Photography has been used as a method in addition to participant observation. A significant proportion of the presentation consists of photographic essays that relate thematically to the written chapters.

- This experimentation with the ambivalence of images, as with the relationship between image and text, comprises an important part of the thesis.

- Prior to my academic education I worked practically with images in various ways. It is partly this background that has led to my specific interest in kolams. What I have learnt practically from the experience of making kolams myself during the field work has been an important element in my understanding and in general I consider that a practice-based method represents an important supplement to those that are verbal and text-based, says Anna Laine.

Title of the thesis: In Conversation with the Kolam Practice: Auspiciousness and Artistic
Experiences among Women in Tamilnadu, South India.
E-link: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
Author of the thesis: Anna Laine, e-mail: anna.laine@globalstudies.gu.se
The thesis was successfully defended on 28 March at 10.15, Aulan, Annedalseminariet, Seminariegat.1A Gothenburg, Sweden.

Faculty opponent: Dr. Amanda Ravetz, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

BY: Lena Olson
lena.olson @samfak.gu.se
+46 (0)31 786 4841

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/19290
http://www.gu.se/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

Im Focus: New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater

Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions

It's possible to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells by extracting the gas from seawater, but the electricity required to do it makes the process costly. UCF...

Im Focus: Small collisions make big impact on Mercury's thin atmosphere

Mercury, our smallest planetary neighbor, has very little to call an atmosphere, but it does have a strange weather pattern: morning micro-meteor showers.

Recent modeling along with previously published results from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft -- short for Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

Conference Week RRR2017 on Renewable Resources from Wet and Rewetted Peatlands

28.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A single photon reveals quantum entanglement of 16 million atoms

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The melting ice makes the sea around Greenland less saline

16.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

On the generation of solar spicules and Alfvenic waves

16.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>